Friday, November 21, 2014

-- Tirukkural 350

Attach yourself to Him who is free from all attachments. Bind yourself to that bond so all other bonds may be broken.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

-- Tirukkural

Just as the Earth bears those who dig into her, it is best to bear with those who despise us.
-- Tirukkural

Friday, November 14, 2014

-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)

Let me tell you the truth: there is nothing wrong in your being in the world. But you must direct your mind towards God; otherwise you will not succeed. Do your duty with one hand and with the other hold to God. After the duty is over, you will hold to God with both hands.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

-- Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh (1887-1963)

Discipline your speech. Speak the truth at all costs. Speak little. Speak sweetly. Always utter encouraging words. Never condemn, criticize or discourage. Do not raise your voice and shout at little children or subordinates.
-- Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh (1887-1963)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Making less decisions for yourself and more to help others

Namaste, Hari Om,

You are probably wondering why is there a picture of Mark Zuckerberg on my blog.

Although I do not agree with everything that Facebook represents I do agree with many of Mark's statements. Primarily his outlook on why he wears the same color shirt everyday.

It is surely wise words, think less of yourself and more for others. Why waste our energy on things we can streamline, rather than looking at a closet full of clothes, you can easily grab something and spend your mental energy on improving society or helping someone. This surely is a metaphor for life. 

Use this example in our daily lives, there are those who can feel a great impact from our minor help, a small donation or even a small compliment. Do not spend your time worrying about the small things, help others.

Excerpt from the CNN Money article below;

Why do you wear the same grey t-shirt every day?

"I really want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community," Zuckerberg said, referring to the Facebook user base.

"I'm in this really lucky position where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than a billion people, and I feel like I'm not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life, so that way I can dedicate all of my energy towards just building the best products and services."

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/06/technology/social/facebook-zuckerberg/index.html?hpt=hp_t3



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Human Rights Reports - Hindu American Foundation

SHB Quote Nov 5, 2014



''Life can bring storms, hurricanes, earthquakes and even tornadoes. Nothing can compare to the internal storms we must face to rise'' - SHB

THE HINDUS OF INDONESIA’S MOST POPULOUS ISLAND, Java,



BY RAJIV MALIKJAVA, INDONESIA
JAVA HAS BEEN A PART OF HINDU TRADItion since ancient times, finding first mention in theRamayana as Yawadvipa. It was one of the many places that Sugriva, ruler of the monkey kingdom of Kishkindha, sent his men to search for Lord Rama’s wife, Sita, after her abduction by Ravana. For thousands of years it has been depicted in the Ramlila dance dramas (and lately in television serials) as a huge, lushly green forested area and known as such to every Indian child.

Click the link to continue.. 

http://hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=5536

Hinduism Today's Magazine - Latest Version


http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/wfdownloads/viewcat.php?op=&cid=1

Click the link above!

Story of Nanda - the foster father of Sri Krishna (Hindu-blog.com)

Nanda was the foster father of Sri Krishna and he was the leader of the cowherds. As per the story in the Bhagavad Purana, Nanda Maharaj in his previous birth was one of the eight vasus. Due to a curse he was born as a cowherd.

Brahma had given the boon to Nanda that he will be liberated and return to his original abode when he will be born as a cowherd and would take care of the ninth avatar of Bhagvan Vishnu.

According to Shiva Purana, Nanda in one of his previous birth was a cowherd and was an ardent devotee of Shiva. Pleased with his devotion, Shiva provided him with the opportunity to look after Sri Krishna.

- Hindu-blog.com 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

-- Tirukkural

The son's duty to his father is to make the world ask, "by what great austerities did he merit such a son?"
-- Tirukkural

Monday, October 6, 2014

-- Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952), Founder of Self-Realization Fellowship

Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.
-- Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952), Founder of Self-Realization Fellowship

Monday, September 1, 2014

WHAT IS “AARTI”

WHAT IS "AARTI"
Aarti is said to have descended from the Vedic concept of fire rituals, or homa. The word may also refer to the traditional Hindu devotional song that is sung during the ritual. Aarti is performed and sung to develop the highest love for God. "Aa" means "towards or to", and "rati" means "right or virtue" in Sanskrit. 
Aarti is generally performed two to five times daily and usually at the end of a Puja or Bhajan session. It is performed during almost all Hindu ceremonies and occasions. It involves the circulating of an 'Aarti plate' around a person or deity and is generally accompanied by the singing of songs in praise of that deva or person (many versions exist). In doing so, the plate itself is supposed to acquire the power of the deity. The priest circulates the plate to all those present. They cup their down-turned hands over the flame and then raise their palms to their forehead - the purificatory blessing, passed from the deva's image to the flame, has now has been passed to devotee.

The Aarti plate is generally made of metal, usually silver, bronze or copper. On it must repose a lamp made of kneaded flour, mud or metal, filled with oil or ghee. A cotton wick is put into the oil and then lighted, or camphor is burnt instead. The plate also contains flowers, incense and Akshata.

The purpose of performing Aarti is the waving of lighted wicks before the deities in a spirit of humility and gratitude, wherein faithful followers become immersed in God's divine form. It symbolizes the five elements: 1) space (Akash), 2) wind (Vayu), 3) light (Tej), 4) water (Jal), and 5) earth (Pruthvi). Communal Aarti is performed in the mandir; however, devotees also perform it in their homes.

-- Sri Ramana Maharishi (1879-1950), South Indian mystic

How can one realize that which alone is real? All we need to do is to give up our habit of regarding as real that which is unreal. Reality alone will remain, and we will be That.
-- Sri Ramana Maharishi (1879-1950), South Indian mystic

Thursday, August 28, 2014

-- Atharva Veda, Kaivalya Upanishad

He is the Supreme Brahman, the Self of all, the chief foundation of this world, subtler than the subtle, eternal. That thou art; thou art That.
-- Atharva Veda, Kaivalya Upanishad

Happy Ganesh Jayanti!

http://www.hinduismtoday.com/blogs-news/hindu-press-international/bringing-clay-to-life/13852.html

HYDERABAD, INDIA, August 21, 2014 (The Hindu): Infusing life into clay statues is the artisans' skill and with awareness about use of clay statues increasing, these traditional potters are working overtime to meet the demand from devotees celebrating in their houses and mass pujas in public places in Hyderabad. Decorating Lord Ganesha statues with carcinogenic colours is a thing of the past and majority root for the clay statues.

Very nice slice show at "source."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

-- Sri Chinmoy,

Life is a boomerang. It brings you back what you send out. It is a child, not an old person, who makes progress in life. If you really want to become a child, then you have to feel that there is always something to learn and that God is there to teach you.
-- Sri Chinmoy, renowned spiritual leader, author, poet, artist, musician and athlete

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Beef Ten Times More Damaging to Environment Than Other Livestock



UNITED STATES, July 21, 2014 (BBC): A new study suggests that the production of beef is around 10 times more damaging to the environment than any other form of livestock. Scientists measured the environment inputs required to produce the main US sources of protein. Beef cattle need 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water than pork, poultry, eggs or dairy. The research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

The researchers developed a uniform methodology that they were able to apply to all five livestock categories and to four measures of environmental performance. As a result, beef comes out clearly as the food animal with the biggest environmental impact. As well as the effects on land and water, cattle release five times more greenhouse gas and consume six times more nitrogen than eggs or poultry. 

"The overall environmental footprint of beef is particularly large because it combines a low production efficiency with very high volume," said Prof. Mark Sutton, from the UK's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. "The result is that the researchers estimate that over 60% of the environmental burden of livestock in the US results from beef. Although the exact numbers will be different for Europe (expecting a larger role of dairy), the overall message will be similar: Cattle dominate the livestock footprint of both Europe and US." 

Cutting down on beef can have a big environmental impact they say. But the same is not true for all livestock. 

"One can reasonably be an environmentally mindful eater, designing one's diet with its environmental impact in mind, while not resorting to exclusive reliance on plant food sources," said Prof Eshel. 

"In fact, eliminating beef, and replacing it with relatively efficiency animal-based alternatives such as eggs, can achieve an environmental improvement comparable to switching to plant food source." 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

-- Atharva Veda, Kaivalya Upanishad

He is the Supreme Brahman, the Self of all, the chief foundation of this world, subtler than the subtle, eternal. That thou art; thou art That.
-- Atharva Veda, Kaivalya Upanishad

Thursday, June 12, 2014

-- Maitri Upanishad

There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind and one's subtle body rest upon that and not rest on anything else.
-- Maitri Upanishad

Fasting For Three Days Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Source 

UNITED KINGDOM, 05 June, 2014 (by Sarah Knapton, The Telegraph): A person's entire immune system can be rejuvenated by fasting for as little as three days as it triggers the body to start producing new white blood cells, a study suggest. Researchers say fasting "flips a regenerative switch" which prompts stem cells to create brand new white blood cells.Although fasting diets have been criticized by nutritionists for being unhealthy, new research suggests starving the body kick-starts stem cells into producing new white blood cells, which fight off infection. Scientists at the University of Southern California say the discovery could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy. It could also help the elderly whose immune system becomes less effective as they age, making it harder for them to fight off even common disease. "It gives the 'OK' for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system," said Prof Valter Longo, Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the University of California. 

Prolonged fasting forces the body to use stores of glucose and fat but also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells. Scientists found that prolonged fasting also reduced the enzyme PKA, which is linked to aging and a hormone which increases cancer risk and tumor growth. "We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system," added Prof Longo. However, some British experts were skeptical of the research. Dr Graham Rook, emeritus professor of immunology at University College London, said the study sounded "improbable." 

Chris Mason, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at UCL, said: "I have received emails from hundreds of cancer patients who have combined chemo with fasting, many with the assistance of the oncologists. Thus far the great majority have reported doing very well and only a few have reported some side effects including fainting and a temporary increase in liver markers. Clearly we need to finish the clinical trials, but it looks very promising." 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

-- Krishna Yajur Veda, Svetasvatara Upanishad 3.11

All this universe is in the glory of God, of Siva, the God of love. The heads and faces of men are His own, and He is in the hearts of all.
-- Krishna Yajur Veda, Svetasvatara Upanishad 3.11

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), disciple of Sri Ramakrishna

Take up one idea and make that your life-- think of it, dream of it, live on it. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. One single soul with good motives, sincerity and infinite love can destroy the dark designs of millions of hypocrites and brutes.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), disciple of Sri Ramakrishna

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mahabharata XII: 113, 8

"One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious 
to one's own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Yielding to 
desire and acting differently, one becomes guilty of adharma." 
 
Mahabharata XII: 113, 8 

-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), President of Divine Life Society

Life is meant for God-realization. If you die without attaining God-realization, your life is in vain. Even having one hundred gurus will not help, unless the disciple has a great desire for liberation and tries to get rid of all that stands in the way.
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), President of Divine Life Society


Thousands Of "Missing Girls" In Pakistan Suffer In Silence

Source: http://hafsite.org/sites/default/files/HHR_Hindus_in_South_Asia_2013.pdf

WASHINGTON, DC, May 22, 2014 (Hindu American Foundation) An estimated 1,000 Christian and Hindu girls are abducted every year in Pakistan, as reported by the Hindu American Foundation's (HAF) tenth annual human rights report, released today. Their stories, unfortunately, have largely gone unnoticed by the international community. "Similar to the plight of the 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria, girls and women from Pakistan's religious minority communities are under constant threat of kidnapping, forced conversions to Islam, and either being married off to older Muslim men or being sold into the sex trade," said Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF's Director/Senior Human Rights Fellow and author of the report. 

Kalra added, "Given the prevalence of such incidents, the U.S. Department of State must change its policy towards Pakistan and designate it as a 'Country of Particular Concern' for its ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom. A CPC designation is necessary and will help expedite long-overdue reforms, while furthering our national interests in promoting secular democracy and moderate forces in Pakistan." Abductions and forced conversions were among several issues covered in the Foundation's latest report, entitled Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights 2013. The report documented the challenges facing Hindus and other similarly situated minorities in ten countries/regions around the world within the context of domestic legal frameworks and international human rights law. 

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Pakistan, in particular, were censured as Egregious Violators for either engaging in or allowing rampant and systematic human rights violations to take place against their minority populations. The report also detailed conditions in Bhutan, the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, and Sri Lanka, which were designated as Countries of Serious Concern, as well as those labelled as Monitored Countries, including Fiji, Saudi Arabia, and Trinidad and Tobago. It further highlighted HAF's on-the-ground fact-finding missions and direct relief projects with refugee populations. 

"From discriminatory constitutional injunctions and laws, to widespread restrictions on religious freedom, to violence and discrimination, the human rights and fundamental civil liberties of religious minorities are coming under increasing attack from both state and non-state actors in many of these countries," said Kalra. "It is imperative that the international community and the U.S. urgently address this unrestrained denial of basic human rights." 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

three wise, blind elephants

One day three wise, blind elephants were discussing what humans were like. Failing to agree, they decided to determine what humans were like by direct experience. The first blind elephant felt the human and declared, "Humans are flat." The other blind elephants tested and said, "We agree."


Can you decode the message in this?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

-- Lord Hanuman in the epic Ramayana

When I think of myself as a body, I am your servant, my Lord; when I think of myself as an individual soul, I am part of you; but when I realize I am atman, you and I become one.
-- Lord Hanuman in the epic Ramayana

Friday, May 9, 2014

-- Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1825-1883), Hindu reformer

"God is the creator, and the best way of offering prayer to him is to be creative. God is all loving, and the best way to serve him is to serve humanity."
-- Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1825-1883), Hindu reformer

Thursday, May 1, 2014

-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), President of Divine Life Society

To enter into the spiritual life is a rare blessedness, it is a great good: to take it seriously and engage in active spiritual Sadhana is a second blessedness and a still greater good: but to persevere in the spiritual life, to be ever progressive and ceaseless in one's spiritual life, is the greatest good, the crowning blessedness.
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), President of Divine Life Society

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day 2014

Namaste, Hari Om,

Wishing everyone and our beautiful earth, a very happy earth day!


may the earth bless us with support, food and peace. 

We are all connected through the ground, even those we have lost will find us through these very earth. 

''If you protect it, it will protect you'' - Anonymous

Friday, April 11, 2014

Radha Madhav Society - Tests are Important

Tests are Important               

 There once lived a very godly man in a village.  He was a gentle soul who always wished everyone well.  But some of the villagers wanted to humiliate the holy man.  They gathered some discarded, beat up old shoes and strung them together with thread, fashioning a sort of shoe garland.  When the holy man was out one day, they hung the garland above the door to his house. 

They thought, "This crazy fellow is always intoxicated with God; he won't even notice what we have done.  When the shoes hit him on the head, we will all enjoy a good laugh."  Sure enough, when Venkatnath was about to enter his house, the shoe garland fell on his head.  The culprits expected the holy man to be enraged by this and to come after them.  Instead, he started laughing and said, "My Lord!  You are so merciful to me.  You have given me the foot-dust of your devotees as protection."   

 When someone insults you, there are two possible reactions you can have.  You can lash out at the offender, or you can gain something positive from the experience.  If there were no opposition in your life, you would never be tested.  And if you are never tested, how can you gauge your level of spiritual progress?  If you remain calm despite there being every reason in the world for you to get angry, you have succeeded.  If you refuse to hate despite there being a valid reason to hate, you have won.     You should not desire for life to be free of tests.  These tests prove our true mettle and shape us into better individuals.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

-- Tirukkural Quote

Just as the Earth bears those who dig into her, it is best to bear with those who despise us.
-- Tirukkural

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

-- Swami Sivananda (1887-1963), founder of Divine Life Society

Go beyond science, into the region of metaphysics. Real religion is beyond argument. It can only be lived, both inwardly and outwardly.
-- Swami Sivananda (1887-1963), founder of Divine Life Society

Friday, April 4, 2014

-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

"The downfall of a religious sect begins from the day that the worship of the rich enters into it."
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

Friday, March 28, 2014

In pictures: Stunning Ramayana manuscript goes digital

From HPI

Source

UNITED KINGDOM, March 24, 2014 (BBC): A stunning manuscript of the great Hindu epic, the Ramayana, is brought together by the British Library for the first time in 150 years. The 17th century manuscript was split between Britain and India in the early 19th century and has been reunited in digital form by the British Library and the CSMVS Museum in Mumbai. It is considered one of the most beautiful versions of the Ramayana, produced in the 17th century for the royal court in Rajastan.

Slideshow at source.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

One party says thought is caused by matter, and the other says matter is caused by thought. Both statements are wrong; matter and thought are coexistent. There is a third something of which both matter and thought are products.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

-- Mataji Indra Devi

It is very important to give light and love to everyone, because everyone needs affection. Let light, love and peace live today and always in our hearts. Let these words not just be words pouring out of our lips. Let light invade your whole being so that everyone may be able to love.
-- Mataji Indra Devi

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

-- Akka Mahadevi, twelfth-century Vira Saiva saint

Like treasure hidden in the ground, like flavor in the fruit, like gold in the rock, and oil in the seed, the Absolute is hidden in the heart.
-- Akka Mahadevi, twelfth-century Vira Saiva saint

Friday, February 28, 2014

-- Swami Omkarananda, (1930-2000), founder of Omkarananda Ashram

The more we are conscious of God's presence in daily life, the more intense is the fullness of the joy we experience. God means infinitely more to our existence than the light of the sun means to the plants and trees.
-- Swami Omkarananda, (1930-2000), founder of Omkarananda Ashram

Shiva and Durga: Their Real Identity By Stephen Knapp

Shiva and Durga: Their Real Identity

By Stephen Knapp

http://www.stephen-knapp.com/shiva_and_durga.htm

Purusha Suktam - Translation & Meaning

Namaste, Hari Om,

The word ‘Purusha’ means God Almighty. This Suktam is in praise of the
glory of God. It is chanted in houses, places of worship during rituals and
ceremonies. Reciting this confers blessings on one’s life. This mantra is chanted
by Rishis before performing Yagna so that there are no obstacles or intermissions
during the Yagna

Download Here: https://app.box.com/s/493hysbuemm1mbeuds1e
Or here: http://www.sathyasaiottawa.org/pdf/Vedam/Purusha_Suktam.pdf

Thursday, February 27, 2014

-- Advayataraka Upanishad

The syllable gu means shadows. The syllable ru, he who disperses them. Because of the power to disperse darkness, the guru is thus named.
-- Advayataraka Upanishad

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rituals on the night of Shivratri are meant to......

''All the rituals on the night of Shivratri are meant to cleanse the ignorance and realize the Brahmn manifest in you. The fasting, rituals and chanting are meant to kill desire, greed, illusion, arrogance, jealousy, and anger. This will make you a better person and prepare you to face the challenges.'' - Hindu-Blog.com

Hindu-blog: Shivaratri 2014 - What to do? When? How to do it? Which Prayers/mantras? Why at night?

Namaste, Hari Om,


I wish you all a happy Shivaratri! Thanks to the wonderful information from Hindu-blog.com and dirkpanchang (Along with using mypanchang.com, you can further find basic information on Shivaratri.

Educate yourselves! Knowledge is power, Only you have the power to feel God, no one can take you there but your own will.


Note. Please use http://www.mypanchang.com or another Panchang site to find the exact time. For example, Western Europe is in Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in the month of Magha from 3:48PM (Feb 27th)  to 12:20PM (Feb 28th) - meaning Shivaratri is taking place Feb 27th to Feb 28th.

(-6 hours from Western Europe for the US EST time zone)


Maha Shivaratri 2014 - http://www.drikpanchang.com/festivals/maha-shivaratri/maha-shivaratri-date-time.html

Shivaratri is great festival of convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in month of Magha is known as Maha Shivaratri according to South Indian calendar. However according to North Indian calendar Masik Shivaratri in month of Phalguna is known as Maha Shivaratri. In both calendars it is naming convention of lunar month which differs. However both, North Indians and South Indians, celebrate Maha Shivaratri on same day.

Vrat Vidhi – One day before Shivaratri Vratam, most likely on Trayodashi, devotees should eat only one time. On Shivaratri day, after finishing morning rituals devotees should take Sankalp (संकल्प) to observer full day fast on Shivaratri and to take food next day. During Sankalp devotees pledge for self-determination throughout the fasting period and seek blessing of Lord Shiva to finish the fast without any interference. Hindu fasts are strict and people pledge for self-determination and seek God blessing before starting them to finish them successfully.

On Shivaratri day devotees should take second bath in the evening before doing Shiva Puja or visiting temple. Shiva Puja should be done during night and devotees should break the fast next day after taking bath. Devotees should break the fast between sunrise and before the end of Chaturdashi Tithi to get maximum benefit of the Vrat. According to one contradictory opinion devotees should break the fast only when Chaturdashi Tithi gets over. But it is believed that both Shiva Puja and Parana (पारणा) i.e. breaking the fast should be done within Chaturdashi Tithi.

Shivaratri puja can be performed one time or four times during the night. The whole night duration can be divided into four to get four Prahar (प्रहर) to perform Shiva Puja four times. Drikpanchang.com lists all four Prahar durations for staunch Shiva devotees who perform Shiva Pujan four times in the night. We also list Nishita time when Lord Shiva appeared on the Earth in the form of Linga and the time window to break the fast on next day.

Shivaratri is also spelled as Shivratri, Shivarathri and Sivaratri.
------------------------------------------
What to do on Shivaratri day?



I find most people asking how to celebrate Shivaratri? Shivratri is the day when rituals and worship are given more importance. There is no fun or merrymaking as in other Hindu festivals. It is a day of renunciation and prayer. It is a day to realize the Brahmn and cleanse ignorance. Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Jyotirlinga on this day. A lingam which had no end and beginning and it symbolizes Brahman.

It is said that one should practice non-violence on this day. Then are things like not to lie, strict brahmacharya, be compassionate etc. But these things should be practiced on all days. So one need not wait for Shivaratri to be compassionate.

Generally most people fast on Shivaratri day by uttering the panchakshari mantra – 'om namah shivaya.' The fast is from Shivratri morning to next day morning.

Next is keeping vigil all night by worshiping Lord Shiva. Worshiping Shiva with Bilva leaves is considered highly auspicious.

If you have a Shivling at home you can keep on bathing it at night with water (avoid using milk, curd, sugar, honey and ghee). Remember, Shiva accepts anything when given with utmost devotion.

If you are unable to observe fast or keep vigil during night, you can observe the day by chanting 'om namah shivaya

-----------------------------

Shivratri Vrat: How to Observe Fast during Mahashivratri?

On the auspicious occasion of Shivaratri, or Mahashivratri, Hindu devotees around the world observe Shivratri Vrat or Upvaas or fast. The fasting involves refraining from eating any food and not sleeping through out the night. Sivaratri literally means 'the night of Lord Shiva' and unlike other festivals associated with Hinduism there is no fun and merrymaking on the day. But the night provides an opportunity to cleanse the ignorance and realize that you are Brahman and open the door to bliss.

The day after Shivratri is Amavasi – the dark night or the no moon night. It symbolizes the evil forces – desire, greed, illusion, arrogance, jealousy, and anger – which dominate the Kaliyuga. Shiva is believed to have appeared in the form of 'Lingodabhavamurti' or Jyotir Linga on the Shivratri night. The Linga is an attempt to give form to the formless Brahmn. Praying to Shiva is to escape from miseries of Kaliyuga.

The Mahashivratri fasting begins on the morning of Shivratri and ends next day morning or the Amavasya morning. Since it is a long Upvaas or Vrat, many people consume a special meal known as 'phalar.'
Devotees wake up before sunrise and take bath and wear clean clothes.
Applying of sacred ash, or vibhuthi, is an important aspect on the day. People also wear a Rudraksha Mala.

The idols of Ganesh, Shiva and Parvati are cleaned and a lamp is lit.
Most people then visit a nearby Shiva temple. In most places, Shivratri is largely observed in temples.

Some people observing fast consume a mid-day meal consisting of non-cereal food such as boiled potatoes which is made into a curry without onion, garlic, adarak or haldi. Another food eaten on the day is pakori or Kutt Singahri ki puri.
Most devotees go for a fruit diet and drink lots of water.
No meal is eaten after sunset.

Next meal is taken on the morning of Amavasi after doing puja and giving alms.
The entire night is spend in a nearby Shiva temple or by chanting Mantras or listening to stories related to Shiva.

Some of the important mantras that are chanted on the day include: Shiva Panchakshari Mantra – Om Namah Shivaya or chanting the sacred names of Lord Shiva.

People who have a Shivling at home can bathe the Shivling with water intermittently throughout the night.

All the rituals on the night of Shivratri are meant to cleanse the ignorance and realize the Brahmn manifest in you. The fasting, rituals and chanting are meant to kill desire, greed, illusion, arrogance, jealousy, and anger. This will make you a better person and prepare you to face the challenges.

http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/02/what-to-do-on-shivaratri-day.html?m=1


--------------------

Shivratri Prayers and Mantras

Apart from fasting and keeping vigil at night, Hindu devotees also chant sacred prayers and mantras dedicated to Lord Shiva on Maha Shivratri night. In fact these mantras can be chanted on a daily basis.

Some of the Holy Siva mantras recommended for Maha Sivaratri are

Shiva Panchakshari Mantra - Om Namah Shivaya

Shiva Sakti Panchakshari Mantra - Om Hrim Namah Shivaya

Mrutyunjaya Mantra –
Om Trayambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushti Vardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanat
Mrutyor Mukshiya Mamrutat

Shiva Gayatri Mantra –
Om tatpuruṣhaya vidmahe
Mahadevaya dhimahi
Tanno rudrah prachodayat
Apart from this one can chant the 108 names or 1008 names of Lord Shiva or the 24 Sacred Names of Lord Siva.

Twenty Four Sacred Names of Shiva
1. Om maheswaraya namaha
2. Om mahadevaya namaha
3. Om sarveswaraya namaha
4. Om shivaya namaha
5. Om Shankaraya namaha
6. Om Saswataya namaha
7. Om pasupataye namaha
8. Om umapataye namaha
9. Om brahmadhipataye namaha
10. Om parameswaraya namaha
11. Om bhasmangaragaya namaha
12. Om mahesaya namaha
13. Om nityaya namaha
14. Om shuddhaya namaha
15. Om mrutyunjayaya namaha
16. Om bhutesaya namaha
17. Om mrudaya namaha
18. Om sarvaya namaha
19. Om sadashivaya namaha
20. Om bhavaya namaha
21. Om sarvajnaya namaha
22. Om bhimaya namaha
23. Om vasudevaya namaha
24. Om tripurantakaya namaha

http://www.hindu-blog.com/2008/03/shivratri-prayers-and-mantras.html?m=1

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Why is Shivratri celebrated during night?


Night usually represents evil then why is Shivaratri celebrated during night? The night after Mahashivratri is 'amavasya' (full dark night). A day when the world will be completely dark. Symbolically, nothing but only ignorance and injustice will prevail. This 'amavasya' also represents 'Kaliyuga.' Mahadev Shiva appeared just before the beginning of Kaliyuga to rid the world of ignorance and evil. This was during the night before 'amavasya.'

Therefore special worship is done before 'amavasya' to please Shiva who is the remover of darkness, evil and ignorance.

Then, almost all the legends associated with Shivaratri happened during night and this is another reason.

http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/02/why-is-shivratri-celebrated-during.html?m=1

-- Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981), Hindu sage

Love says, "I am everything." Wisdom says, "I am nothing." Between the two, my life flows. I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.
-- Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981), Hindu sage

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

It is impossible for me to reconcile with the idea of conversion as it happens today. It is an error and perhaps the greatest impediment to the world's progress toward peace. Why should a Christian want to convert a Hindu? Why should he not be satisfied if the Hindu is a good or godly man?
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Atharva Veda

He cannot be seen by the eye, and words cannot reveal Him. He cannot be reached by the senses, or by austerity or sacred actions. By the grace of wisdom and purity of mind, He can be seen, indivisible, in the silence of contemplation. This invisible Atman can be seen by the mind wherein the five senses are resting.
-- Atharva Veda

Friday, February 21, 2014

-- Rig Veda 7.1.2

Like the household fire, devotees seek the glory of the Lord even from afar and enshrine it in their inner chamber for enlightenment. The glory of our Lord is full of splendor, all-illuminative and worthy to be honored in every heart.
-- Rig Veda 7.1.2

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hindu Blog - Searching For the Infinite While Infinite Is All Around Us

http://www.hindu-blog.com/2014/02/searching-for-infinite-while-infinite.html?m=1


Searching For the Infinite While Infinite Is All Around Us.

Once a small ocean fish went to an older fish and asked, ‘Excuse me, you are older than I, so can you tell me where to find this thing they call the ocean?’

‘The ocean,’ said the older fish, ‘is the thing you are in now.’

‘Oh! This? But this is just water. What I am seeking is the ocean,’ said the disappointed fish as it swam away to reach elsewhere.

 The older fish exclaimed, ‘Oh little fish! What are you looking for? Just look!’

Living in the very ocean and searching for it! That is the irony of human situation — searching for the Infinite while infinite is all around us.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

-- Tirukkural

The whole purpose of earning wealth and maintaining a home is to provide hospitality to guests.
-- Tirukkural

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal(1912-1954)

Wealth and happiness are not related to each other as cause and effect. An attempt to secure happiness by securing wealth is as futile as it is absurd.
-- Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal(1912-1954), 34th pontiff of the Sarada Peetham

Monday, February 10, 2014

Quote: Appolonius of Tiana (2-97 ce)

In India I found a race of mortals living upon the Earth, but not adhering to it. Inhabiting cities, but not being fixed to them, possessing everything but possessed by nothing.
-- Appolonius of Tiana (2-97 ce), Greek philosopher and occultist. His work deeply influenced Western mysticism.

Photo: Raghubir.net

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Smithsonian's Yoga: The Art of Transformation Brings to Light Yoga's Hindu Roots

Source Via HPI: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suhag-a-shukla-esq/smithsonians-yoga-the-art_b_4691008.html

SAN FRANCISCO, January 1, 2014 (Huffingtonpost): The much hyped Smithsonian exhibit, Yoga: The Art of Transformation, is packing up to move from its primary residence in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC to spring at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and summer at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Bringing to Light Yoga's Hindu Roots (TBY) is a project the Hindu American Foundation launched in 2010 after someone at Yoga Journal confirmed that the editors intentionally avoided the term "Hindu" in describing things that were, well, Hindu, because "Yah, you know, Hinduism has a lot of baggage." The aim of the project is at getting the millions of folks who say they "do yoga" to appreciate that 1) yoga is not just asana; and 2) while yoga does not proselytize or require conversion to reap its physical and psycho-spiritual benefits, it refers to spiritual practices that are essential to the understanding and practice of Hinduism. On the whole, we found that Yoga: The Art of Transformation aligned with the two fold goal of the TBY.

During the small group session with a diverse set of advisors that included yoga teachers, yoga practitioners, yoga researchers, and others, it was indeed interesting to hear the various perspectives of what each sought from the exhibit. Some were curious about the aesthetics and flow, others were interested in the supplementary programming, while others wanted to ensure that the science behind yoga was emphasized. For me, I wanted to drive home three main points: 1) the importance of using the word "Hindu," as opposed to favored industry codewords like "Indian," "Indic," "Sanskrit," or "Vedic" (none of which are inaccurate, by the way) as a descriptor where appropriate; 2) when it came to describing the unknown -- be it origins, dates, or sources -- that a certain humility be present in the descriptors, ie. "Some scholars believe..." or "The origins are unknown, but..."; and 3) where aspects of yoga's history were still contested or debated or differed from emic Hindu perspectives, that the multiples views be honored and given space.

If you're in the San Francisco bay area this spring or Cleveland in the summer, it's definitely worth experiencing.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Hindu via HPI - New inscriptions confirm Manickavasagar built temple

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/new-inscriptions-confirm-manickavasagar-built-temple/article5646362.ece?homepage=true

Inscriptions Confirm 9th Century Tamil Saint Built Temple  Source   INDIA, February 3, 2014 (The Hindu): Legend has it that Manickavasagar, one of the four Saivite savants, constructed the temple at Avudaiyarkoil, known as Thiruperunthurai, in Pudukottai district. Now the State Archaeology department has stumbled upon inscriptions confirming that Manickavasagar, the Minister of Pandiya King Arimarthana Pandian (862-885 ce), built the sanctum sanctorum and the kanagasabha mandapam. 

"His contribution has been recorded in the form of a poem. The inscriptions, found in the Panchakshara mandapam of the temple built in the 16th century, also record that Thiruvachagam was inscribed on the walls," said G. Muthusamy, registering officer of the department in Tiruchi region. 

Manickavasagar belonged to the 9th century and was said to have used the money meant for buying horses for the cavalry to construct the temple at Thiruperunthurai, one of the ports of the Pandiya Kingdom, after an encounter with Lord Siva. Manickavasagar penned Thiruvachagam and Thirupalliyezhuchi while camping in this temple and referred to it as Thiruperunthurai.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

I loved my motherland dearly before I went to America and England. After my return, every particle of dust of this land seems sacred to me. -- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

Monday, February 3, 2014

-- Swami Rama Thirtha (1873-1906)

Other religions have all been founded by individuals, but Hinduism is not based on the teachings of any one single person. Before any prophet was born, the Sanatana Dharma was there.-- Swami Rama Thirtha (1873-1906)

Monday, January 27, 2014

HPI - 30 Awe-Inspiring Hindu Temples


Link to Hindu Press International

Hindu Press International

A daily news summary for news media, educators, researchers, writers and religious leaders worldwide, courtesy of Hinduism Today magazine's editorial staff

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/11/hindu-temple-photos_n_4571321.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

30 Awe-Inspiring Hindu Temples

Source



January 22, 2014 (Huffington Post): Elaborately decorated Hindu temples sing praise to the glory of God with their breathtaking architecture. Hinduism is called the world's oldest religion and many of these structures are full of history.

Slideshow at source--click the second photo to launch the slideshow.



Monday, January 20, 2014

Krishna Yajur Veda, Maitreya Upanishad 3.2

In thinking "This is I" and "That is mine" one binds himself with himself, as does a bird with a snare. -- Krishna Yajur Veda, Maitreya Upanishad 3.2

(Picture from Yosemite.ca.us)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Chandrasekhara Bharati (1912-1954), 34th pontiff of the Sarada Peetham

Do not say that you do not have time for God. The busiest of men will have the most leisure, and the laziest will always be short of time, for the former utilizes time and the latter only wastes it. If you really want God, you will find time for Him. -- Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati (1912-1954), 34th pontiff of the Sarada Peetham

Mother Sarada Devi (1853-1920)

One must be patient like the Earth. What iniquities are being perpetuated on her! Yet she quietly endures them all. -- Mother Sarada Devi (1853-1920)

http://wordpress.ramakrishna-sa.org.za/category/holy-trio/sri-sarada-devi/

''Let me tell you how to love all equally. Do not demand anything of those you love. If you make demands, some will give you more and some less. In that case you will love more those who give you more and less those who give you less. Thus your love will not be the same for all. You will not be able to love all impartially.'' - Maa Sarada Devi

We are truly blessed to have her words. Thank You Shree Sarada Devi Maa!

Kalash Pot Symbolism in Hinduism (Hindu-blog.com) Why do we worship the kalasha?

Namaste, Hari Om,

Please see the article below from Hindu-blog.com, also comments.

When we do puja or many rituals we utilize the Kalash, not only does it make the puja room/location look vibrant, it also aids in channeling energy.

You can read the below and more at this link as well (PDF) http://sanskritdocuments.org/articles/Hindu_Rituals.pdf if you want to know more about Hinduism's many questions.

Knowledge is within reach, do not rely on others for your liberation and knowledge - it is within, it existed before you and will exist after you.

Jai Shree Ram,
SimpleHinduBhai


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15. Why do we worship the kalasha? (taken from the pdf link above, Sanskritdocuments.org)

First of all what is a kalasha A brass, mud or copper pot is filled with water. Mango leaves are placed in the mouth of the pot and a coconut is placed over it. A red or white thread is tied around its neck or sometimes all around it in a intricate diamond- shaped pattern. The pot may be decorated wit designs. Such a pot is known as a kalasha.
When the pot is filled with water or rice, it is known as puriiakurnbka representing the inert body which when filled with the divine life force gains the power to do all the wonderful things that makes life what it is.

A kalasha is placed with due rituals on all-important occasions like the traditional house warming (grihapravesa), wedding. daily worship etc. H is placed near the entrance as a sign of welcome. It is also used in a traditional manner while receiving holy personages. Why do we worship the kalasha? Before the creation came into being. Lord Vishnu was reclining on His snake-bed in the milky ocean. From His navel emerged a lotus from which appeared Lord Brahma. the creator, who thereafter created this world.

The water in the kalasha symbolizes the primordial water from which the entire creation emerged. It is the giver of life to all and has the potential of creating innumerable names and forms, the inert objects and the sentient beings and all that is auspicious in the world from the energy behind the universe. The leaves and coconut represent creation.
The thread represents the love that "binds" all in creation. The kalasha is therefore considered auspicious and worshipped. The waters from all the holy rivers, the knowledge of all the Vedas and the blessings of all the deities are invoked in the kalaska and its water is thereafter used for all the rituals, including the ahhisheka.

The consecration (kumbkaabkisheka) of a temple is done in a grand manner with elaborate rituals including the pouring of one or more kalashas of holy water on the top of the temple. When the asuras and devas churned the milky ocean, the Lord appeared bearing the pot of nectar. which blessed one with everlasting life.

Thus the kalaska also symbolizes immortality. Men of wisdom are full and complete as they identify with the infinite Truth poornatvam). They brim with joy and love and respect all that is auspicious. We greet them with a purnakumbha ("full pot") acknowledging their greatness and as a sign of respectful and reverential welcome, with a "full heart".



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Article from Hindu-blog.com:

Kalash Pot Symbolism in Hinduism
The Kalash pot is an important item in most Hindu pujas and rituals. It is also placed permanently in home and shops. There is deep symbolism associated with the Kalash pot in Hinduism. The pot is a symbol of growth, fertility and abundance. At home and in business place it is symbol of fullness, plenty and prosperity.

Vedas describe Kalash pot as a golden pitcher overflowing with honey.

The space within the Kalash is considered to be the womb and thus it represents growth and fertility.

The water in the pot is a symbol of the sacred rivers.

As per some scriptures, the mouth of the kalash represents Vishnu, the neck represents Shiva and the middle part represents Brahma. 
Regards,
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Kalash is a metal (usually made up of copper) vessel which has a flat round at the base and is used in many Hindu rituals. Kalash is also known as Kalasha, Kalasa, Kumbha, and Ghat. Kalasha symbolizes abundance and prosperity in Hinduism. It is also used as a symbol on wedding cards in order to show the marriage between two families. Kalash is a sacred symbol for Hindus. In general, a Kalash is always placed in or near a Hindu altar and is worshipped during daily Pujas.

During the time of rituals, the Kalash is filled up with water up to the neck of the vessel and five leaves of mango and/or Nagin plant are kept at the opening of the vessel in such a way that the leaves immerse partially in the water. Some coins are placed inside the vessel. A Swastika is drawn with Kumkum on the front portion of the vessel. After this a coconut is placed on the top of the Kalash. A garland of flowers is also placed around the Kalasha.

Kalasha is worshipped mainly during Vastushanti, Grihashanti, Navratri, marriage ceremony, and other important auspicious occasions.

References to the Kalasha can be found in Rigveda. Also it is believed that Amrit (the drink of immortality) was found in the Kalasha during Samudra-Manthan. The demons stole this Amrit-Kumbha but Gods took it back from them and drank all the Amrit.

Kalash is also considered as auspicious in Jainism.




Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Happy Makar Sankranti .Jan 14, 2014

Namaste, Hari Om,

Makara Sankranti is a Hindu festival celebrated in almost all parts of India and Nepal in a myriad of cultural forms. It is a harvest festival.  Makar Sankranti marks the transition of the Sun into the zodiac sign of Makara rashi (Capricorn) on its celestial path.

The day is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India and is a traditional. Makara Sankranti is a solar event making one of the few Indian festivals which fall on the same date in the Gregorian Calender every year: 14 January, with some exceptions when the festival is celebrated on 13 or 15 January

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makar_Sankranti

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sri Ramakrishna in a conversation with a devotee on March 9, 1884

The Eternal Religion, the religion of the rishis, has been in existence from time immemorial and will exist eternally. There exists in this Sanatana Dharma all forms of worship--worship of God with form and worship of the impersonal Deity as well. It contains all paths--the path of knowledge, the path of devotion and so on. Other forms of religion, the modern cults, will remain for a few days and then disappear. -- Sri Ramakrishna in a conversation with a devotee on March 9, 1884

Friday, January 3, 2014

Adi Shankara, 9th century Indian philosopher and saint


Do not be proud of wealth, people, relations and friends, or youth. All these are snatched by time in the blink of an eye. Giving up this illusory world, know and attain the Supreme.
-- Adi Shankara, 9th century Indian philosopher and saint